How a loophole in the justice system almost cleared a babysitter of blatant child abuse.
While some Americans say that there's a lot wrong with the justice system in our country and have various opinions on what solutions might be, most would agree that if someone assaulted another person, inflicting documented injury, the attacker would have charges pressed against them and rightfully so. But in Sherwood, Oregon, even with a confession on record, a babysitter who terribly abused a one-year-old baby boy was almost not charged because of a loophole. Here's where social media can actually do good.
Parents Alicia Quinney and Joshua Marbury came home one evening to find their one-year-old baby screaming and the babysitter, Markell Deon Hilaire, asleep on the couch.
The first thing I saw was Jacob’s black eye,” Quinney told KPTV. “And I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, what happened?’ And he turned over and the whole side of his face was black and blue.
The injuries sustained by the child were documented at the hospital soon after by doctors and social workers alike. It was clearly a case of child abuse as the bruising on the baby's head was determined by doctors to be in the shape of a hand.
The parents filed a police report and awaited the upcoming charges against the babysitter. They waited a month and heard nothing. After waiting for two months with no progress from the Sherwood Police Department or the Washington County District Attorney, Marbury took matters into his own hands, took the fight to social media, and found out this law that was preventing the prosecution of the abuser.
Alicia Quinney and Joshua Marbury with children Jaylynn and Jacob.
The law in Oregon states that the victim must be able to communicate "substantial pain" from an incident and has made it difficult for young children, older children with developmental delays, or victims who are scared to speak out to successfully prosecute against their abusers. This is a ludicrous loophole that has spurred on articles such as "Even pets are better protected than young kids under Oregon abuse laws, prosecutors say" from The Oregonian.
But after over 400,000 shares of Marbury's post on social media and petitions signed for #JusticeforJacob, the Washington County district attorney finally charged Hilaire with criminal mistreatment and assault.
Prosecutors hope that this case and public upset will force Oregon to amend their abuse laws.
H/T: WTVR.com, Pix11.com, Oregonlive.com, Nydailynews.com